HBO; Netflix; Jordan Altnhaus/Universal Television
We live in an interesting time when instant gratification is the norm, and the days of waiting an entire week (oof!) to see the next episode of a TV show are few and far between, because why would you put yourself through the agony of seven whole days until you find out the next plot twist of your favorite small screen story line if you don’t have to? Exactly.
That’s when streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime come into play. Instead of depending on cable TV (which is so 2014), you can watch an entire season of your favorite series from beginning to end on your watch, and this beautiful event is otherwise known as binge-watching.
Some may consider this a hobby, but these people are amateurs, because real binge-watchers know that it’s not just a hobby, it’s a lifestyle. There’s levels to this s–t.
In fact, there are roughly seven stages of binge-watching any TV show. We know this from personal experience, and once you read through them all, you may find yourself relating to a lot of this, and that’s OK, there’s no judgement here.
1. Isolation: Before taking on any series (especially if we’re talking multiple seasons), you need to understand that you’re not going to be very social for a while. In fact, your friends might start worrying about you, but all you gotta do is text them occasionally to let them know you’re still alive, because you won’t be leaving your place for some time.
Of course, you can invite people to join you on your binge-watching journey, but that gets a little tricky, because you need to watch with someone who will: A) be at the same spot in the show as you B) just as dedicated as you and C) aware that there cannot be any distractions when the show is on. None of this “Netflix and chill” BS, ain’t nobody got time!
2. Fear: Now that you’re completely engulfed in whatever show you’ve dedicated your life to, you live in fear. Not because you’re ashamed (there is nothing to be ashamed of, you’re dedication is admirable), but because there are spoilers everywhere! Are you sure you want to sign into Twitter? Because chances are someone is tweeting about Stranger Things and you’re still stuck on Chapter 5. Also, beware of the conversations you enter when discussing shows. People are ruthless and may ruin it all for you.
3. Confusion: There’s always a level of confusion when you begin a show. Since Stranger Things is the big binge these days, let’s use that as an example again. Who knew it was going to be scary AF in the first few chapters? Um, sorry, I wasn’t ready for Winona Ryder to completely lose it over some weird noises on the phone. Why didn’t anyone mention to watch this only in the daytime? Then, when you finally get passed the scary scenes, you’re completely lost on what the hell is going on. But you keep watching to find out.
4. Anger: So now you’ve dedicated a good chunk of your life to this one show. You’ve sacrificed sleep, a social life, proper meals and even some social media for this experience—and it’s over. There’s some anger there, there’s a sense of feeling lost, because what now?! What will you do with all of your free time? How do you say goodbye to the characters that you’ve grown so attached to? How do you stay sane for the next year until the new season is released? It’s just so tough.
5. Curiosity: This stage may actually creep along from the beginning, because as you become acquainted with characters, you start to do some stalking research on who they are. You casually pull up the show’s iMDB page and get the star’s name. Maybe you give their Twitter a follow or their Instagram a quick scroll. Then you suddenly start wondering why you can’t stop thinking about Casey from Mindy Project aka Ders from Workaholics aka Anders Holm, but you have to get over it because he’s married, UGH. Also, has anyone figured out how old Steve aka Joe Keery from Stranger Things is?
6. Obsession: How can you not become obsessed with the show that’s consumed so much of your life? So, really, it’s no surprise that at some point, once you’ve watched every episode and spoilers aren’t a threat, you know you’re taking your trigger fingers over to Google to start looking up conspiracy theories and discussions. Especially if it ends on a cliffhanger or bombshell, like that Game of Thrones season six finale that revealed Jon Snow’s parents. Or maybe you just want to give yourself a history lesson and read up on Pablo Escobar‘s life after binge-watching Narcos. Either way, you want more!
7. Acceptance: You’ve come to the end of your road for this respective show. You’ve watched every episode and perhaps even the after shows because you’re a boss like that. You’ve looked up all the conspiracy theories and follow the main characters on Instagram. Now, it’s time for the hardest part—letting go. It hurts and it sometimes feels like abandonment. But, don’t fret, dear friend. It’s just part of the process. Once you’ve accepted that this season or series has come to an end, you begin to dedicate yourself to a new binge-watching experience, and the cycle starts all over again.
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